I generally donate blood as often as possible, every 8 weeks. I never have a problem with donating — I always feel great afterward. Nevertheless, giving up a pint of blood means less oxygen can be processed by the body until the blood regenerates, and I can definitely feel the difference in workouts within a few days of a donation. I usually schedule the appointments for Monday so that I have all week to recover before, say, a long bike ride on the weekend.
Today, for only the second time ever, but the second time in the past 6 months or so, my iron level was too low to donate. The first time it happened, I had done probably my toughest-ever bike ride a few days before, and I was told that was the likely cause of my low iron level. A week or two later I was able to donate.
Since I stepped up my activities to include running, I suppose I am asking more of my blood, so it’s not surprising it happened again. I did feel more tired the last couple of days (but worse yesterday than today). As soon as I got home from the aborted appointment I took a vitamin pill with iron, and if I keep that up for a few days I should be fine.
It’s disappointing to be unable to donate, because the blood center can always use the pint. Ah, well…
The lesson I learned today is that, even though I’ve been feeling great about my training, I have my limits and need to pay attention to what my body needs. I’m no Superman (I totally just joke about that). David quipped on Facebook that I’m a “monster”, but that is so far from the truth! I am nothing compared to many of the cyclists, runners, and bodybuilders around here. Not selling myself short, just being realistic. It’s motivating to know that I have a lot of work to do to build my strength up to the level I will need to be for the GoRuck Challenge!